Scholars Punting Cambridge – How to Punt


April 12th, 2019

 

 

At first site punting looks very easy but in actual fact, it’s very difficult. Over the years people have attempted many techniques. Some have been more successful than others. This blog aims to highlight the pros and cons of each of the various approaches people have taken. Each technique is ranked out of 5 for its effectiveness and irritation to other river users, this is with the exception of “lads on tour” and “bored passenger” which get 6 for irritation to other river users.

 

The  Kayak

 

The Kayak otherwise known as the windmill is a technique employed by self-drive who have given up on conventional punting because it is just too difficult. Standing or sitting the chauffeur holds the pole in the middle, dipping either end in the water in a paddling motion.

 

Effectiveness rating 1

 

Irritation to other river users 1

 

Danger rating 3

 

The Cavalier

 

The cavalier is a semi-skilled chauffeur. Due to his limited ability, he actually believes that he is more skilled than any other river user. Instead of being patient with beginner self-drives he deliberately bumps them, with a view to accidentally on purpose nocking someone in. Chauffeurs like this can often be identified by their self-proclaimed nicknames such as “ramming division” or “river patrol”

 

Effectiveness rating 4

 

Irritation to other river users 4

 

Danger Rating 5

 

Lads on tour

 

This is any group of lads who decide to go punting. Obviously, they choose a self-drive because it’s cheaper. Despite having very little control over the boat they race every single professional like it’s the world dragon boat final. The smaller self-drive with chauffeur and paddler out accelerates the chauffeur boat, then turns off course colliding with the chauffeur boat stopping them both dead. This process can repeat up to five or six times before the chauffeur boat is able to escape.

 

Effectiveness rating 3

 

Irritation to other river users 6

 

Danger rating 5

 

Can’t be arsed

 

Simply sit in the self-drive and drift down the river. The bonus is that you get a free chauffeur trip back from the boatyard when they realise that you’re stranded.

 

Effectiveness rating 1

 

Irritation to other river users 3

 

Control freak

 

To the control freak punting looks easy, and besides he has an open water canoeing badge from adult scouts. Much to the embarrassment of his tinder date, he insists on paddling the boat up and down the river. The two of them sit in silence. The driver looks slightly angry because the chauffeur boats keep coming past much faster.

 

Effectiveness rating 3

 

Irritation to other river users 3

 

 

Safety first

 

Rather than standing on the back deck, stand in front of the deck. This lowers your centre of gravity making it less likely that you will fall in the river, unfortunately, it also makes punting virtually impossible to punt. Even the most experienced chauffeurs find it difficult to punt from this position.

 

Effectiveness rating 1

 

Irritation to other river users 4

 

 

Bored passenger

 

Only one man can punt, obviously the remaining men will assist in some way. By positioning yourself in the front of the boat you can assist by pushing anything away, your active range can be increased with a paddle. Unfortunately, there are very few situations when this would actually be of assistance, generally, you just push your boat or other river users off course.

 

Effectiveness rating 1

 

Irritation to other river users 6